Hey guys! Welcome to another fantabulous Words With an Author with Cassie Clarke, author of The Black Jewel. Let's jump right into the interview!
1. How did you get into writing? When did you first start writing?
I’ve been writing ever since I can remember! I learnt to read at an early age and fell in love books, so writing seemed like the natural second step to take. Even when I was a child all my writing had elements of fantasy to it, I loved making up new worlds where anything was possible.
2. Where did you come up with the ideas for your books? Who/ what is your inspiration?
I have a lot of my ideas right before I go to sleep! My characters always come first, and I always play out little scenes between them in my head while I’m dozing off, thinking of different scenarios for them and how they would react. If I think something is really good I have to get up and write it down straight away otherwise I’ll forget. I tend to make a lot of typo-ridden notes on my phone and then have to decipher them the following day.
3. Are any of your characters based on people you actually know, if so which ones?
I don’t think they are. I probably inject a little of myself into my heroines (although they’re far more interesting than I am), but other than that, they’re all people that I would like to meet.
4. If you had to pick only five books from your bookshelf you could keep, what would they be?
Just five?! Okay.
1. First on my list has to be one of the Harry Potters. Goblet of Fire is probably my favourite; I loved the Triwizard Tournament.
2. Next Five on Treasure Island, because Enid Blyton was my favourite author when I was a child, and the Famous Five was the first series I really obsessed over.
3. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski is a recent favourite. It’s the second in the trilogy, and I’m counting down the days till the last book comes out in March! I can’t say enough good things about it – the plot is fabulous, the characters are engaging, and the romance…*sigh*
4. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. I loved all her books when I was a teenager, they’re so funny and quick to read.
5. A Storm of Swords by George R.R.Martin. He’s one of the only writers I’ve read who’s completely fearless to do what needs to be done, and as much as I hate him for killing off certain people, I love the shock factor and the fact that you never know what’s coming next. I wish I was brave enough to kill off my favourites, but I’m too much of a sucker for a happy ending in my own work!
5. How long did the writing process take for each of your books? What does your writing process look like?
Long. So long. I’m an awful procrastinator (Candy Crush is the bane of my life), plus real life has a habit of getting in the way. I started The Black Jewel about ten years ago, but then didn’t do anything with it for several. I finally finished it over a year and a half ago. I prefer editing to writing, it’s so much easier to play with words that are already there than when you’re facing a blank screen.
6. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Most of them are covered in the books I’d keep: J.K.Rowling, George R.R.Martin, Enid Blyton, Meg Cabot, Marite Rutkoski, Sophie Kinsella, and Lauren Oliver.
7. What actors/ actresses could you see playing the characters of your book?
Hm. I think about this all the time but I can never get it quite right! I think Amanda Seyfried is probably the closest lookalike for Ela.
8. How did you come up with the title and cover of each of your books? Did they morph as you wrote the book, or were they constant?
I really struggled with the title. I wanted something original and catchy, but nothing ever seemed quite right, so I ended up going back to my very first idea with The Black Jewel – after all it is the main focus of the book!
I ran a competition for the artwork on the cover, and I had so many fabulous designs to choose from. I had a vague idea of what I wanted and it was so exciting seeing the ideas come to life! The one I went with was designed by a lovely guy named Marko, and I fell in love with it the second I saw it. It’s so gorgeous and a little bit different to some of the more generic YA covers.
9. Are you planning to write any other books?
Yep! I have two on the go at the moment, both YA. One is set in an apocalyptic future where the world is overrun with zombies, the other is a start of series about a group of witches attending a university for magic where nothing is quite as it seems. I’m also working on a short prequel to The Black Jewel which will be free on Amazon by the end of the year.
10. Have you had to do any outside research or a book you've written?
Not a huge amount. One of the things I love about fantasy is that anything is possible! I’ve always wanted to write something about the Greek Gods, but that would be such a mammoth research task that I keep putting it off.
11. Where is your ideal writing location?
Somewhere where I won’t be disturbed, and somewhere with an excellent sound system! Music really inspires me, I can’t write without it.
12. What would your advice be to someone who's aspiring to be a writer?
Sit down and write! Pick a time when you know you won’t be disturbed, and just do it. The feeling of accomplishment when you’ve actually finished is overwhelming.
13. Finally, just to wrap things up, what's your favorite color and why?
Purple. Someone asked me when I was a child and I didn’t really have one – I was colouring something in with purple at the time so I picked that, and it kind of stuck. It’s feminine without being overly girly, which kind of describes me!